The topic of dreams spark a lot of interest and curiosity. This is something which has everyone wondering because after all, the very concept is indeed wonderful. Closing your eyes and submerging deep into a world of different visions. What makes dreams more interesting is that you can’t control what you see. It’s so much different from imagination. You might have often woken up seeing something that had your mind transfixed and puzzled all day. In those moments, did you ever think about what does dream really look like? Whether it was trying to portray or relay something or did it have a hidden message?

Well, guess what? Dreams are not all useless. Islam has talked about dreams and described their reality to the people. Nothing that a person goes through is without meaning. Islam answers the question to everything. Let’s see what Islam says about dreams.

What Does Dream Look Like?

The best explanation of dreams is given by Qadhi Thana ullah in Tafseer e Mazhari,

“The reality of a dream is that when a human self – as a result of sleep or unconsciousness- is freed from the management of the active body, it comes to see some shapes from the faculty of imagination. This is what a dream is.”

(Extracted From Maariful Quran)

Delving into sleep relaxes the body and soul, giving the soul a little time to detach slightly from the body and go into another realm. That is where different types of images are seen which are formed into a scene or story played in dreams.

Types Of Dreams:

There are three different types of dreams.

  1. Self suggestions
  2. Satanic Delusions
  3. True Dreams and Inspirations.

The first true dreams have no base and meaning and are totally false. The third one, however, has substance and can be true. It can still be intermingled with other factors making it unreliable and flawed.

Let’s explore each of these in detail to get a better insight.

Self suggestions:

These are the dreams which are the reflection of your daily routine, thoughts or likes and dislikes. What does this type of dream look like? All those materials which you have a strong connection and infatuation with show up in your subconscious state while you are asleep. They appear in the form of shapes and make up different images, scenarios and events.

Satanic Delusions:

Self Suggestions at times are meddled with the intermingling of Satan. This is why normal happenings which present themselves in dreams may change to appear either terrifying or pleasing. Such changes in events, situations and forms are the input of Satan. They have no base and meaning as well and cannot be interpreted in any sense.

Inspirations:

This type of dream is true and has meaning. It is a mode of inspiring a true believer from Allah through a dream. The dream is sent by Allah (SWT) to warn of an incident or give glad tidings of something great. It is meant to offer solace and peace to the believers heart. Such dreams can be considered, pondered upon and interpreted. However, it is important that no other element has been mixed in these as well and the interpretation is done correctly from a reliable source.

The Prophet (SAWS) said,

“The dream of a believer is a dialogue in which he has the honour of speaking to his Rabb.”

This Hadith has been reported by Al-Tabarani by a sound chain of authorities. (Mazhari)

All these three types of dreams have been told and explained by our Prophet (SAWS) in a Hadith.

He said that there are three kinds of dreams. (1) The Satanic in which the mind sees forms and shapes released by the Shaytan. (2) That which one keeps seeing while awake. These present themselves before one in a dream. (3) The third kind, which is correct and true, is the forty-sixth part of the ingredients of prophethood (Nubuwwah), that is, it is an ‘Ilhaam’ (inspiration) from Allah Ta’aIa.

(Extracted From Ma’ariful Quran)

What Does Dream Look Like that is False?

Self- suggestions and Satanic delusions are false and baseless. They have no reality and no meaning. If anyone sees such dreams then be content and know that no harm will come from them and they do not signal any sort of danger. Even if they take up the appearance of a fearful event, do not be alarmed and follow the guidelines of Our Prophet (SAWS).

Narrated Abu Qatada: The Prophet said,

“A good dream that comes true is from Allah, and a bad dream is from Satan, so if anyone of you sees a bad dream, he should seek refuge with Allah from Satan and should spit on the left, for the bad dream will not harm him.”

(Bukhari)

Abu Saeed Khudr (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAWS) said,

“If anyone of you sees a dream that he likes, then it is from Allah, and he should thank Allah for it and narrate it to others; but if he sees something else, i.e., a dream that he dislikes, then it is from Satan, and he should seek refuge with Allah from its evil, and he should not mention it to anybody, for it will not harm him.”

(Bukhari)

The Prophet (SAWS) has advised his Ummah to take the following actions when seeing a bad dream,

  1. Seek refuge from Allah (SWT) i.e Read the Ta’awwuz
  2. Spit on the left side.
  3. Forget the dream and do not mention it to anybody.
  4. Know that this dream was merely to scare and will no inflict harm in anyway.

By following all these steps, if the dream does happen to be true, the bad part inshaAllah will be eliminated through this action.

Why Bad Breams Shouldn’t Be mentioned to anybody.

First Reason:

Islam regards self suggestions and satanic delusions to be hinged to the words of the interpretation.  It was narrated from Abu Razin that he heard the Prophet (SAWS) say:

“Dreams are attached to the foot of a bird* until they are interpreted, then when they are interpreted they come to pass.” He said: “And dreams are one of the forty-six parts of prophecy.” He (the narrator) said: “And I think he said: ‘(A person) should not tell them except to one whom he loves or one who is wise.’”

What does it mean to be attached to the foot of a bird?

The Arabs used birds to differentiate between right and wrong. After tying the options to the foot of the bird, they waited to see which direction the bird will fly. If the bird flew in the right direction they took it as a good omen and if it flew in the left direction they took it as a bad omen.

Although such a practice was condemned by Islam as it was similar to Shirk, the Prophet (SAWS) used the example to explain the nature of dreams. The example offered clarification in the matter by comparing it to a practise which people understood pretty well in those times. This means that the dream will bring no one no harm but be wary of interpreting it. Once the interpretation is given, the dream will happen according to the interpretation.

This is why after seeing a bad or troublesome dream, a person should not bother with what it means, nor relay it to anyone lest they offer an interpretation of their own. If the dream is to be shared, then share it with someone who is a well wisher and has knowledge of how to deal with dreams.

Second Reason:

Another reason mentioned my Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani Sahib (RA) is that hearing a bad interpretation from someone can overwhelm any man. This may lead to the man thinking and expecting the misfortune to befall him. Allah (SWT) says in Hadith e Qudsi,

‘I am with the opinion of My servant about Me.

Meaning Allah (SWT) deals with his servants according to the opinion and assumption they form of Him (SWT). Assuming bad will lead to bad itself. On the other hand, staying positive and hoping for the best will bring goodness. It is therefore advised in Islam to keep your dreams to yourself to avoid any bad feelings from any person.

What Does Dream Look Like When it is True?

True dreams which occur from the command of Allah (SWT) and are not intermingled with any Satanic Delusions are referred to as ‘ Glad Tidings’ in Islam.

Abu Huraira (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAWS) said in a Hadith,

“Nothing is left of the prophethood except Al-Mubashirat.” They asked, “What are Al-Mubashirat?” He replied, “The true good dreams (that conveys glad tidings).”

(Bukhari)

The Prophet (SAWS) also said,

“The (good) dreams of a faithful believer is a part of the forty-six parts of prophethood.’

The Holy Prophet (SAWS) was the last Prophet of Allah. There will be no Prophet or revelation after him. True Dreams are mentioned in the Hadith to be a Part of Prophethood and not Prophethood itself. Hence, the misconception is corrected in which a person seeing such a dream regards himself as nearing to Prophethood or something like that.

How Can Dreams Be a Part of Prophethood?

The Prophet (SAWS) received revelation for a period of twenty three years. During the first six months, the Prophet (SAWS) saw dreams as revelations. Those dreams would happen in reality when he woke up. Those six months turn out to be around the fortieth part of revelation. Angel Jibrael (AS) will no longer come with revelations after the Prophet (SAWS)’s demise, however, true dreams will continue to be seen which will either warn or give glad tidings to the believers.

Who Can See True Dreams?

Keep in mind that true dreams are not restricted to a certain group of people. Such dreams can be seen by all sorts of people, pious and sinners alike. Surah Yusuf mentions true dreams of three individuals, two of which were not Muslims. There are many such examples in the life of The Prophet (SAWS) as well.

Judging from this, it can be said that only seeing a good dream and it taking place in reality does not indicate that the person is pious or religious, even Muslim. Although, it is the customary practise of Allah (SWT) that the dreams seen by good people are usually true and those seen by sinners are often self suggestions or Satanic delusions but thats not something definite.

What Does Dream Look Like in Islam?

All sorts of dreams can be seen by anyone and two of those dreams have no meaning or substance. Its therefore best if dreams do not become the centre of our attention. Usually dreams are the ones, which are an exposition of one’s thoughts. However, once in a while if you see a dream which you feel has meaning then follow the guidelines of our Prophet (SAWS) about dreams and you will be safe from submerging too much into it and also be connected to this amazing nature of humans as well.

If you want to read more about dreams, try picking up the commentary of Surah Yusuf written in Ma’ariful Quran by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani Sahib.

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You can also download the Pdf for Maariful Quraan in English and enjoy it on your screen!